- Published: Monday, 28 November 2011 13:36
28 November 2011
Every day in Afghanistan there are casualties requiring helicopter evacuation. There is a high probability that as you read this, someone is bleeding and in the process of extraction from the battlefield.
US Army MEDEVAC helicopters fly unarmed into combat emblazoned with Red Crosses on white backgrounds. This signals to the enemy that our people are unarmed. The enemy tries to shoot them down.
The Air Force, Marines and British do not burden their helicopters with Red Crosses and they are armed with machine guns. This facilitates faster, safer evacuations. Army helicopters frequently must orbit landing zones because there is too much ground fire. This happened again less than a week ago. A trooper suffered a double amputation during an ambush. The Army Dustoff had to orbit for about 45 minutes due to ground fire.
Pilots and crew from numerous Dustoff units have recounted to me many such events. It is my belief that Dusftoff Soldiers will confirm to journalists that such long and unnecessary delays are common. Meanwhile, Air Force rescue helicopters have large machine guns and will shoot their way in and get out faster.
The US Army burdens its Dustoff helicopters with Red Crosses due to internal political struggles about who controls the helicopters. This leaves patients bleeding on battlefields.
Many people who are up to speed on the facts know that this tragic situation needs to change. Many of those caring people have already contacted representatives across the country.
We have created a private forum for action-minded people to exchange information and ideas. This forum is not a place to debate whether or not helicopters should go into combat unarmed and bearing Red Crosses. This forum is for those who wish to change the situation.
Many people have contacted me offline. Some are concerned that taking a public stand can damage their careers, or the careers of loved ones. Some of these people are in key military positions. If you share such concerns, please create a fictitious email and use a pseudonym.
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If you are interested but not up to speed on the issues, please take time to visit these links before joining discussions: